Katie Flannery and Lil Heiland have developed a routine to make the most of their trips with the grandchildren — before, during and after the bags are packed.

Once a destination is chosen, the grandparents make dates with their young traveling companion to seek input, lay out activities and begin building a binder of brochures and maps of the area they'll visit.

Then Heiland puts together homework for the kids. She sends them five quizzes, each with 10 questions about their destination.

"Mr. Google helps, but they have to look up information about where we're going, and they appreciate it more when we get there because they did the research," said Heiland.

The children are incentivized and rewarded for sending back the quiz; they get $1 for every question they correctly answer, which they can use later to purchase souvenirs.

The young travelers are also required to journal every day, writing down their impressions to create a complete record of their adventure.

After returning home, Flannery, an accomplished photographer, puts together a book about the trip.

"Lil writes the captions, she's funnier than me," she said.

"It's touching how much they love those books," said Flannery. "It keeps the memories fresh."